Nick Kyrgios slammed the ATP as “selfish” on Thursday (June 11) for pressing ahead with plans for the US Open despite the country dealing with a coronavirus pandemic and widespread anti-racism protests.
The temperamental Australian suggested it was too early for the Flushing Meadow Grand Slam, joining other players in expressing reservations, including world number one Novak Djokovic.
“The ATP is trying to make the US Open go ahead. Selfish with everything going on at the moment,” Kyrgios, ranked just 40 but a showman who is popular with fans, said on Twitter.
“Obviously Covid, but also with the riots. Together we need to overcome these challenges before tennis returns in my opinion.”
The tennis season has been on hold since mid-March because of the pandemic, with the French Open postponed and Wimbledon cancelled.
The US Open is still scheduled to go ahead, with the main draw starting on August 31 despite New York being the epicentre of the outbreak in the US.
Authorities and organisers have drawn up a list of hygiene rules, including a 14-day quarantine period for players arriving in the United States while restricting their entourage to one person.
Djokovic suggested on Wednesday that he may skip the North America swing and restart his season on clay in Europe in early September, complaining about the “very severe” measures being put in place at the US Open.
“Most of the players I’ve talked to so far have a rather negative view of the possibility of going,” said the Serb.
World No. 2 and reigning US Open champion Rafael Nadal has expressed similar reservations, while top-ranked woman Ashleigh Barty has also voiced caution about resuming tennis too soon.
But American player Danielle Collins hit out at Djokovic, saying players need to start earning money again.
“This is a serious contradiction,” Collins, who made the semi-finals of the 2019 Australian Open, wrote on Instagram. “No one has been able to play sanctioned events or make money since February.
“This is a massive opportunity for players to start making money again, and here we have the top player in the world saying only being able to bring one person with (him) will be too difficult.
Collins urged Djokovic, who heads the men’s ATP Tour players council, to support the US Open organisers.
“It’s easy when someone’s made US$150 million (S$208 million) throughout their career to try and tell people what to do with their money, and then turn down playing in the US Open,” she said.